For immediate release: July 20, 2009
BLOOMSBURG — For the seventh time, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania has received accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), reaffirming the quality of the university's education, leadership and self-study process.
"This is good news," said BU President David Soltz. "The reaccreditation gives us solid building blocks to improve on our success and create a comprehensive strategic plan to ensure our success continues well into the future. I truly appreciate the time and effort of the many faculty and staff who assisted with the self-study."
The commission approved BU's latest 10-year reaccreditation at its June 25 meeting. BU was first accredited in 1950. Richard Baker, chair of BU"s Middle States steering committee, said MSCHE is the university-wide accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The accreditation ensures BU remains eligible for federal funding, including federal student aid and research grants, according to Baker.
"It's also an opportunity to have individuals from eight peer institutions review our programs and provide a comprehensive assessment of how well the university is fulfilling its mission," Baker said. "And, as a result of the institution's internal self-study process, BU is already reviewing its general education curriculum and will begin the process of reviewing its mission and preparing a new comprehensive five-year strategic plan, which will carry us well into the next decade."
Among the highest commendations, MSCHE said BU remains financially strong because of its extensive annual planning and budgeting activities. BU also ranks near the top of the 14 PASSHE institutions on several measures key to attracting new students.
Baker said the first step is to implement the recommendations and suggestions from the self-study and MSCHE review. A monitoring report will be submitted in 2011 to affirm BU has complied with the commissions' recommendations regarding strategic planning and general education. MSCHE is a voluntary, nongovernmental membership association that defines, maintains and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations and resources. It uses 14 accreditation standards to examine each institution as a whole, rather than specific programs. The standards are mission and goals; planning, resource allocation and institutional renewal; institutional resources; leadership and governance; administration; integrity; institutional assessment; student admissions and retention; student support services; faculty; educational offerings; general education; related educational activities; and assessment of student learning.
The MSCHE evaluation team visited the university from April 5 to 8. The team conducted interviews with students, faculty, staff and administrators. According to Baker, each team member had a background in an administrative and/or academic area and was responsible for reviewing that portion of BU's operations. BU's self-study, conducted over the 2007-08 academic year, included a survey of faculty, staff and students covering several areas of the university, such as its mission and student learning. The study also contained recommendations that will be included in BU's strategic planning and budget process.
BU last received a comprehensive evaluation in 2004. The next periodic review report, which is done halfway through the 10-year reaccreditation cycle, is due in 2014 with the next self-study evaluation due in 2018-19. Visit here to view BU's self-study process and results.